By Marianne A. Campolongo
“It used to be, ‘Wow, Johnny’s on TV.’ Now everyone is there with their flips recording everything and putting their kids on YouTube,” said Barbara Kornreich, New Castle Community Television (NCCTV)Board President.
In such an environment, how does community television, whose mission is to provide an outlet for the community to produce and broadcast their own content, stay relevant?
By embracing new media, becoming more visible, and reaching out to community members–whether they want training in sophisticated video equipment and editing techniques, or simple movie software to fine-tune their home videos.
New Media and a New Location
There is “a two-fold transition going on” at NCCTV, explains Kornreich: a growing emphasis on new media/ digital and the launch of a leading-edge public access center, the New Castle Community Media Center (NCCMC) where community members, businesses, and organizations can learn to shoot and produce video for the Internet, mobile devices, video sharing sites, and television, right in town.
Most viewers are already watching NCCTV’s traditional programming on demand on the web rather than on their television, according to Kornreich. The emphasis on new media recognizes the value in alternative programming. “People should not be intimidated. You don’t have to come in and do a half-hour show every week,” says Kornreich. “We’ll help you turn your four-minute video into something we can show on our website, on facebook, and on TV.”
“The website will be like YouTube except super local and relevant to New Castle,” said Executive Director Carrie Krams. Although it won an award from the Alliance for Community Media in 2008, Treasurer Lyle Anderson says he is already redesigning the site to make it more of a “community portal” where in addition to uploading video and photos, “people can comment, add suggestions, and create their own channels to personalize their experience.”
The new studio, which began limited operations in mid- July with a grand opening slated for September, provides everything from a traditional TV studio set-up with greenscreen, teleprompter, lights, and multi-directional robotic cameras that one person can operate from a high-tech console, to iMacs equipped with both simple movie-editing software and the more sophisticated Final Cut Pro.
Community members can learn to edit videos they take with their own cameras or with a variety of cameras available at the studio—from large professional models to easier-to-operate “prosumer” video cameras that fit easily in one hand. The current studio at Horace Greeley High School will remain intact, as will NCCTV’s traditional programming, which can now be shot at either location. The studio at Greeley was off-limits to the New Media Keeps an Old Medium Relevant Article and Photo by Marianne A. Campolongo Barbara Kornreich (standing) and Carrie Krams (seated) at the New Castle Community Media Center. The console controls multiple cameras in the studio. The top monitor shows one of the many virtual backgrounds that can be substitued for the plain green screen and table in the studio. September/October 2010 Inside Chappaqua 25 rest of the community during school hours. The new location at 400 King Street, Suite 2, in the shopping center at the intersection of Route 120 and Route 117, is open 9 am to 6 pm weekdays, and by appointment on Saturday, to make it easier to schedule shooting and editing sessions, workshops, and community meetings throughout the day, increasing accessibility.
“The kid’s stuff is so great. It’s quirky, fun and reflective of the community, which is really what it should be,” said Kornreich.
All ages are welcome but an important goal of the new media center is to make it easier for adults to get involved in filmmaking, so more of them can share their creativity with the community too, tapping into the town’s “vibrant, engaged, talented community,” said Krams. NCCTV has only two full-time staff members and several volunteers. Often, community members request someone to film their event, unaware that the station often does not have the manpower. They do, however, have the expertise to teach more residents how to film their own events, and equipment to lend those who need it. Krams and Kornreich said they hope the new media center will encourage more people to take advantage of what they have to offer.
Tap Into Your Inner Artist
Much is still in the planning stages as they prepare upcoming workshops. NCCTV has been an incubator for the career of many Greeley students who have gone on to top film schools and they plan to offer internship opportunities to further encourage students but you need not have serious aspirations to get involved.
The new media center is aimed at aspiring filmmakers of all ages who want to follow their artistic vision as well as at community members who simply want to learn how to record a town or group event. For more information you can check out the website www.ncctv.org, follow them on Facebook (New Castle Media Center) or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to receive news of upcoming workshops.
Marianne A. Campolongo, a freelance writer and photographer (www.campyphotos.com) based in Chappaqua, has been dreaming about learning video. She cannot wait to take her first NCCMC workshop at a studio within walking distance of her home.